Hi everyone, Rob here.
This morning I had a really beautiful experience. My 6 year old daughter Jasmine (Jaz) had written me a note saying “thank you for looking after me and putting me to bed.” Gorgeous eh! She was beaming as she gave me this note and I was delighted to receive it. The night before had been a daddy-daughter time as Kiley (Mum) and Jake (Older brother) both had things to go to. We played board games, I bathed her and washed her hair, we read Bible stories and prayed for each other. It was sweet but it wasn’t particularly unusual AND that’s what made the thank-you note really special. It was essentially saying; “thanks for being my daddy. I love spending time with you.” It was a message from God validating me in my parenting, in my fathering, and saying “Well done. You’re doing great!” That’s the power of a well-timed thank you. It acts as an embrace from the Father, a pat on the back, a ‘keep going son.’
There are the thank-yous that are merely good manners and there are the thank-yous that come from the heart. We know which ones are more powerful! Heartfelt thank-yous come more readily from hearts that are already filled with thanks. They also come more readily from people who express their thankfulness to God regularly. This is why times of thanksgiving to God are much more than a religious exercise. They train our hearts and minds into heartfelt living. As we name what we are thankful for and give God the glory for those things we come to see that God is the source of all good things. We also learn to see and name the good things! We learn to move from just naming nice things like a sunny day, a car that runs and a nice home to the things that have shaped our hearts. Things like the depth of mercy that God offers, inner healing, increasing kindness in our lives, the good we increasingly see in others (even in the ones we used to resent or resist) start to arise out of our hearts. Thankfulness for our circumstances is a good starting point but circumstances change. The deeper, better place is when we’re thankful that we belong to God no matter what the circumstances of our lives are like.
The Psalms teach us that lament and thankfulness can go together. Psalm 13 begins with, “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?” It ends with “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” True thankfulness doesn’t come from pretending the hard stuff isn’t happening. It comes from presenting ourselves and all the hard and good things in our lives to God. It comes from dying to ourselves at the cross of Christ and coming alive to him through his resurrected life. It comes from being in Christ and a child of God. It took a child to remind me of that this morning.
Thank you Father for taking care of me and giving me rest. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you that I am his and he is mine. From my heart to yours. Amen.